I talked for a long time to this woman. We never spoke a word. We knew everything about each other. It was my bench, or maybe it was hers. It was my park, or maybe it was hers. Or maybe it was ours.
It was the place we came to to get away from everyone else. And there I was, and there she was, next to me, so far away, on that green bench scabbed with time, the paint fading and laden with decades of asses and graffiti and weathering and wear. It was my bench, my park, my escape, who was this prisoner with me?
I never looked at her. She never looked at me. She did not ask to sit with me, she didn’t care. I didn’t care. I was flattered and I was angry. The day was so sunny, something so rare, as rare as this event. This woman. I could feel that she was big, blond and German and I felt the reflection of her sunglasses and I felt the weight of her heaviness and I knew that was why she was here: she needed to get away.
I was silent, she was silent, we were silent. There were people around us, all around us, everywhere, as parks are so apt to provide. This peaceless place to find peace where there is life all around you even though you feel dead inside. You can communicate without words and the eyes can tell a million stories. I knew the story of the woman sitting next to me…she had a heavy life and she needed a break, to recharge, to recuperate and get back to the life that she thought would be better than this. It was her life, it was my life, it was our life.
We gazed idly at the dogs, one of the few animate objects basking in the rare form of communication in this park. My park, her park, their park. The round concrete circle in the middle of the park, now dry and chilly in the winter months, the antithesis of its wet activity during the week or two of heat and sun in Berlin. This circle served as a sitting place for these strange strangers that amused me with their anonymity. This woman, who I knew everything about without ever knowing, was also amused.
The dogs were mostly small and annoying, but provided all of those people who did not have the luxury of a park bench, to escape into their other worlds. They were the damned, codependent on life to live. Me and this woman, or, I mean, this woman and I, were the strong independent types who needed nothing but ourselves to find peace. We gave everything to everyone else, but for this rare, sunny, loudly quiet moment, we did not talk, but we said everything.
I looked at her when she suddenly got up and walked heavily away. She was tall, she was blond, she was empty-handed, she was German, and she had a lot to say…